How A Health Coach Ate Healthy(ish) on a Weeklong Cruise
Tracie Kendziora is a health coach for crazy busy working women who are tired of feeling like shit. With her off-beat humor and no-nonsense approach, she’s here to show you that wellness doesn’t have to be work. When she’s not making smoothies, you can find her relaxing on the beach with a good book.
Cruising is practically synonymous with laziness and gluttony. If you've ever been on a cruise, you know what I'm talking about.
Sure, there's a gym and a jogging track. And getting anywhere on the ship requires walking. Lots of walking. And stairs. But there's also all-you-can eat buffets overflowing with bread, butter, and burgers. Not to mention pizza and ice cream available around the clock, desserts with every meal, and beaucoup booze. And the constant call of baking in the sun. Why go for a run when you can burn to a crisp like that bacon you just ate? I recently went on a weeklong cruise and wasn’t interested in bringing home an extra 10 pounds in vacation weight.
Here are the simple strategies I used to stay healthy(ish) on my vacation.
HIT UP THE FRUIT BAR.
With the buffet overflowing with pancakes, waffles, and French toast, breakfast can be the hardest meal of the day, especially when you're used to a nutrient-dense smoothie. Luckily, there's always a fruit bar. I found peanut butter (protein! healthy fat!) by the bread station and started my mornings with a big plate of fruit and a banana slathered with peanut butter.
MAKE FRIENDS WITH THE SALAD BAR.
That same fruit bar transforms into a salad bar for lunch and dinner, which is especially helpful if you’re so not feeling formal night in the main dining room. I loaded up my bowl with greens, tomatoes, carrots, cucumbers, radishes, and chickpeas for a satisfying salad every day.
EAT AND REPEAT.
You might not get a lot of variety on a cruise ship, especially if you're vegetarian or vegan. And that's okay. When you’re faced with too many options, it kind of beats down your willpower.
Once I found the fruit and salad bar, and happened upon baked potatoes (which I drizzled with olive oil and sea salt), I ate those same meals pretty regularly. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
ASK YOURSELF IF YOU’RE REALLY HUNGRY.
Just because food is available around the clock, doesn’t mean you need to be eating every hour. Ask yourself if you’re really hungry before you go for that second plate. Maybe you’re just bored or thirsty, especially if you’ve been sitting in the sun all day without drinking water. When I was honest with myself, this one question stopped me from overdoing it.
DON'T FORGET TO INDULGE.
I honestly believe there's no room for deprivation in a healthy diet. So if those cookies were calling my name, I had one. If you’re eating your indulgences mindfully and remaining aware of how they will make you feel, there's no need to feel guilty or ashamed. Doing that only makes you feel worse. But I always made sure I hit up that salad bar the next day and maybe fit in a workout to balance it out. (Remember all those stairs I mentioned? Take those. Not the elevator.)
DRINK YOUR WATER WITH LEMON.
Starting your day with lemon water can help keep your digestive system in working order, allow you to digest your food easier, and help you detox any toxins. Extra handy on a cruise ship when you’re a little out of your comfort zone.
The beverage station has a hot water dispenser and fresh cut lemons, so every morning I headed there to start my day on the right foot.
I even ended my day there sometimes when I may have indulged a bit…Damn you, dessert!
PACK SOME STAPLES.
While I feel a little more at ease bringing a few of my favorite things, I also don’t like to lug around a heavy bag. I kept it pretty simple for this trip, bring along protein powder, greens powder, and healthy snack bars, plus my Blender Bottle.
The protein powder was a great addition to my breakfast or after a long afternoon of snorkeling. The greens powder came in handy for an extra dose of nutrients and when the sniffles (all those other people’s germs!) started to kick in. And the snack bars were great in between meals when the only options were burgers and shrimp tacos.
You could definitely pack a whole bag of food, but, for me, the whole point of a vacation is to relax. I don’t want to get my stomach in knots worrying about what I’m going to eat – so, with these tips in mind, I just eat!